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WD My Book Live Reviewed

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My Book Live
At a glance
ProductWestern Digital WDBACG0020HCH My Book Live   [Website]
SummaryFaster, simplified feature single drive My Book NAS with new admin GUI and no USB or eSATA ports. Based on 1 GHz Applied Micro APM82181.
Pros• Virtually silent
• Low Power consumption
• Improved performance
Cons• Doesn't provide 100 MB/s reads in our testing
• No USB ports

Typical Price: $119  Compare Prices  Check Amazon


Updated 3/20/2013: Added spec comment and link to Duo review
Updated 11/1/2010: WD performance comment, misc spec updates
NOTE: This review is based on original firmware. The Live's feature set is better described in the newer Live Duo review.

WD has single-drive NAS fans all worked up over the performance claims for its latest single drive consumer NAS, the My Book Live. As shown in Figure 1, WD is claiming "read speeds up to 100 MBps", which would be a first for a single-drive NAS.

While our testing found that the My Book Live is faster than its My Book World Edition ("white bar") sibling [reviewed], I wasn't able to substantiate WD's performance claims.

Updated 11/1/2010:

See the Performance section for how WD came up with its 100 MB/s read spec.

WD My Book Live performance claim

Figure 1: WD My Book Live performance claim

The My Book Live is housed in the My Book's familiar bull-nosed "book" form factor, but clothed in a subdued matte charcoal grey vs. the glossy white of earlier My Book NASes. The front panel carries only a lone, tiny light that changes colors and blinks to alert you of its many moods.

Figure 2 shows the rear of the Live, which you'll note is devoid of either USB or eSATA ports. So if you're looking for a NAS that can copy to / from external drives either on demand or on schedule, or share an external drive, you had best look elsewhere.

WD My Book Live rear panel

Figure 2: WD My Book Live rear panel

The My Book Live draws only 10 W when active and 4 W when drive spindown occurs after the Energy Save mode kicks in, which is programmable from 10 to 60 minutes in 10 minute increments. There is no fan, so the My Book Live runs very quietly, with only occasional muted drive noise.


WD doesn't talk about the processor or even the memory complement of the Live, so I had to open it up to take a look-see myself. Figure 3 shows the inside of the Live once the cover is pried free of its rear latches and slid off.

WD My Book Live inside
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: WD My Book Live inside

The metal shield was easily popped off to reveal the board's components shown in Figure 4, which I'll get to in a moment. The Live is designed for low-cost manufacture with its only "chassis" comprised of rubber-cushioned metal brackets which attach to the hard drive case and slip into slots in the flexible plastic case.

Since the hard drive was completely covered by a metal shield, I had to remove the assembly from the case and remove four screws to pop off the shield before a WD Caviar Green 2 TB drive (WD20EARS) was revealed. It's probably safe to assume that a Caviar Green drive is also used in the Live's 1 TB version.

WD seems to go its own way when it comes to processor choice in its My Books. The My Book World "White Bar" uses an Oxford OXE810DSE and 128 MB of RAM. The Live continues the WD tradition by using a 1 GHz Applied Micro APM82181 Embedded Power Processor and doubles RAM capacity to 256 MB.

WD My Book Live board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: WD My Book Live board

Other key components are 512 KB of flash and a Broadcom BCM54610 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet transceiver.

Figure 5 shows the My Book World "white bar" board for comparison.

WD MBW "white bar" board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 5: WD MBW "white bar" board

Related Items:

WD Announces 100 MB/s Single Drive NAS
WD Doubles Your Cloud Storage Fun
WD My Book Live Duo Reviewed
WD Updates Dual-Drive My Book World NAS
WD Personal Cloud NAS Gets 4 TB Drives

User reviews

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Average user rating from: 10 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

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Slowest Backup drive ever!

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Patrick
July 05, 2013
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Our My Book Live is connected via Gigabit Ethernet (confirmed by green light next to ethernet plug) to a D-Link DIR-860L Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router. My laptop is connected to the router via a bridged Gigabit Ethernet and 5.0Ghz-band 802.11n wireless connection.

The performance of the backup? 364KB/s (2.84 Mb/s) during one backup attempt and 40-50 KB/s (320-400 Kb/s) during another attempt.

Go to the WD Community forum for the My Book Live below to see that I am not alone: ( Sure others can get much faster, but there is no troubleshooting tool from WD if you happen to be stuck-in-the-mud (other than paying $14.95 for One support phone call).


Pretty good, but beware of hard shutdowns

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by gnump
September 25, 2012
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First @OSS and all those, not understanding the definition of "backup":
A backup means, that you have the original data on your main drive, and a identical copy of them on one (or n) different drive(s), so that you never loose data as long as only one ( or n-1) dataset(s) is lost. To be safe in that point, you need to have at least three copies, also should not have the online at the same time except the moment of synchronisation and store them in different locations, e.g. at your aunt's house 20 miles away to prevent distruction by local hazards (fire, water-flood, hurricane, etc.).
IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE set of your data, no matter if its on you lokal drive or on the NAS,

I own(ed) 6 of those drives and four of my friends, my dad and my aunt do also own some. They are pretty fast, especially for that price. Whne you can live with the reduced feature set, it's pretty easy to handle. If you need more, you just go to your http://mybooklive.local/UI/login
Log in,
enable ssh access here,
start your putty and log in as root, pw welc0me (Zero!)
and you have a full blown debian Lenny root shell to play around. It's not as comfortable as a gui, but you can do almost everything.

According to the point reliability:
Two MyBookLives died.
One, because my brother unplugged the power cord several times, because he was disturbed by the hdd-hummm, until the hdd's heads crashed. The drive and its data were irrecoverably lost.
The second one because our telco's outdoor-DSLAM was hit by lightning, which, in consequence, killed my modem (and those of about 120 neighbors), router, GB-switch and the network interfaces of my printer and my MyBookLive. The mybook system itself and its HDD were still ok and bootet as normal, but when it tried to take the network interface up, nothing happened. I had to disassemble the mybook and connect the HDD to my computer to recover the data. The other two MyBooks also running at that time in the network, took no harm (except for one, using its LED indicator for activity and standby). The oldest two MyBooks are just over 30 months old and still running flawlessly.
So, they are pretty tough boxes if you keep in mind, that you should shut them down before unplugging the power cord.
A very interesting and important poit is, that they are pretty quiet. They have no screaming mini-fans, they are passively cooled and nevertheless pretty cool. The only sound they produce is the humming of the HDD itself which vould be conducted to your desk even they have rubber feet. To reduce this, take a thin soft rubber pad (anti-slip or something similar) and place it between your desk and the MyBookLive. The result ist, that you have to look at the status LED to see, if the drive is running, because you almost can't hear it, even in a veeery quiet environment.

So, to tell a long story short:
A pretty good deal regarding speed, storage, energy consumption and quietness. Easy to use if you can live with the shortages or flexible, if you are able to hack on a linux console.

- it's so fast that it knocks out every competitor unless they have a atom processor an cost three times as much as the MyBook without having HDDs installed
- it's really quiet. Same-Spped-Competitors have fans
- it's almost as cheap as a usb drive (15 €/20 $ difference) but accessible via net/wifi
- pretty reliable, if you don't mistreat it
- easy to use OR very flexible and extensible
- MyBookLive to MyBookLive Backup implemented
- its really energy-saving compared to competitors

- you cannot exchange the HDD (without loosing warranty) or install a second one
- no usb extension port for printers or 2nd HDD
- no usb port to connect it directly to your computer
- GB Ethernet connector only
- limited features in gui, uncomfortable in console mode, but very flexible then
- does sometimes not survive lightning stroke or little bro's attacks :-D

Sorry for my "extendable" english, I know that it should be better.


Mine died after a few months too

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Jay
July 23, 2012
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I already own a few Western Digital drives and I find them reliable as long as they rely on USB or FireWire. Sadly, the server edition (Live) is far from being as reliable. An employee from a computer store I regularly go to told me he had many returns as well. I would not recommend this drive although it has quite a few interesting features to offer. I won't review them here since the drive tends to fail too often and reliability being the number one feature one seeks into this type of device, all's said.


Totally Unreliable piece of Junk

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Oss
March 12, 2012
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I bought this 2 months ago, Due to power outage the Hard disk stopped working, It contained all my important data, I took out the drive just to find out that its damaged internally.

For me it was waste of money,time and resources. I will never recommended to use this as your primary backup


Mybook Live reliability

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Mario
October 02, 2011
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Got the first unit in May 2011. It dies in June. In-store replacement. It died again at end of September. I will not seek to replace it this time. The end.

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